Kids are hard on their stuff, and if you’ve ever had to replace your child’s eyeglasses (shortly after they were purchased), you know the level of frustration that comes along with this simple yet expensive task.
Once you’ve recovered from sticker shock, you can begin to wallow in parental guilt for being angry that your kid was irresponsible with their glasses. It’s a beautiful (and incredibly normal) process.
Children's eyewear needs to be durable, but if your kid is involved with sports, they also need protective safety glasses. Sports glasses aren’t usually covered under health insurance or vision plan, so you can plan to pony up the money for these directly out of pocket.
At Stoggles, we get it. We’ve got kids of our own — real kids that play hard and break everything from bones to glasses. Parents, we salute you, and we’re here to help. Together, we’ll talk about the need for protective children’s eyewear and tell you what you need to look for in a pair of sports specs.
Eye Development and Injury
The eyes aren’t as protected as other vital organs in our bodies. Their only line of defense is the eyelid and the thin layer of stretchy tissue that covers the eyeball called the conjunctiva. You know the conjunctiva from the time your kid came home with pink eye, which is an infection of the conjunctiva that produces green, mucousy… you get the picture.
It goes without saying that your eyes, unlike your brain, can’t be covered in a thick layer of bone, or they wouldn’t be able to perform their specific function. However, this leaves the eyes vulnerable to injury more than other important organs.
In addition, your child is born with a certain amount of retinal cells. Retinal cells, which transform light into electrical signals, do not regenerate. Vision is only possible because these specialized cells send signals to the brain to be interpreted as sight. Without these cells, a person can become blind.
How Common Are Childhood Eye Injuries?
Worldwide, about 2.2 billion people suffer from vision impairment and blindness. In the United States, about 2,000 eye-related injuries per day happen while people are at work, and about half of those lead to emergency room visits and missed time from work.
For kids, the statistics are equally as “eye-opening.” About 35% of the nearly two million eye-related injuries per year happen to kids under the age of 17. The biggest source of childhood eye trauma are blunt and sharp objects, followed by burns.
These injuries happen mostly at home, outdoors, or during sporting events. The risks are high, and the trauma can be so severe that a child can quite literally lose their vision. Experts agree that 90% of all eye-related injuries are completely preventable simply by wearing the proper safety eyewear for the occasion.
When selecting children’s sports glasses, there are a few standard rules you should follow. We’ll help you understand what’s important for keeping their eyes safe.
What To Know Before You Shop
When shopping for your kiddo, there are a few points to consider before we get into the protective features your child’s sports glasses should have.
- Look for the ATSM seal. The American Society for Testing and Materials verifies that every eyewear used in sports activities protects the eye from strikes, scrapes, or blunt trauma. Specifically, an ASTM F803 certification ensures the eyewear has been tested to meet these standards.
You might be familiar with this seal, as many toy manufacturers use it to ensure their toys are safe for use.
- Ensure comfortability. Your kid wants comfortable eyewear as much as you do, and they’re classically a little less tolerant of ill-fitting glasses than adults. As such, make sure the glasses feel good, are made with lightweight material, and fit properly.
- Don’t forgo safety eyewear in lieu of sunglasses or regular eyeglasses. If your child wears corrective lenses, purchase a pair of prescription safety glasses. Don’t rely on their regular eyeglasses to keep them safe or their sunglasses. These glasses aren’t designed for impact resistance and could leave your child with an even worse eye injury.
Now that you know the basics, here’s what you should look for in safety eyewear that will keep your kids’ eyes safe and your mind at ease.
Seven Things To Look for in Kids’ Sports Glasses
There are more dangers at the ball field than parents coaching from the sidelines and refs that never get it right. Making sure your kids’ eyes are protected can help alleviate some of the stress you feel after a hot day watching travel ball.
1. UV Protection
Ultraviolet radiation is damaging to the eyes just like it is to the skin. The skin’s response (tanning and burning) is a little easier to deal with than a corneal burn. Corneal burns can take days to weeks to heal and can become extremely painful.
Additionally, UVA and UVB rays can cause early onset macular degeneration, a condition that robs you of your fine, detailed vision and, later, your eyesight in total.
If you’re concerned your child won’t be able to see through dark, tinted glasses, look for safety eyewear that is crafted from polycarbonate material. All Stoggles eyewear for older teens and adults, for instance, is made from polycarbonate, a material that is naturally UV-blocking.
2. Durability (Impact Resistance)
Most of the time, your child’s sports glasses will have the ASTM rating that ensures they are safe for sports. However, if you plan to let your child use their sports glasses for other activities (like lawn work or home improvement activities), look for the ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification.
The American National Standards Institute tests safety glasses to ensure they are shatter-resistant against both high mass and high-velocity impact. Glasses with this seal have undergone two important tests that involve firing a ball bearing at the lenses to ensure they do not break.
3. Side and Top Shields
Many brands of sports glasses rely on wraparound lenses to provide protection near the temples, where regular glasses leave gaps. This, however, doesn’t do anything to protect the eyes at the top of the glasses, near the eyebrows, where vulnerability is also possible.
Wraparound lenses are a classic fail, too, because they can warp your child’s ability to see clearly. If your child wears prescription sports glasses, the effect is even more dramatic, causing somewhat of a funhouse mirror effect that can even make them feel nauseous.
A better solution is to opt for top and side shields. These provide a more streamlined design that is more comfortable and doesn’t interfere with any corrective prescriptions your child might need. Additionally, it helps keep the top of their eyes protected, which traditional wraparound lenses fail to do.
4. Blue Light Blockers
We know you’re wondering why you’d need blue light-blocking lenses in a pair of sports glasses because blue light is something you associate with electronic devices. The fact is that the biggest source of blue light is the sun.
Just like ultraviolet rays, blue light rays can penetrate the eye and reach the retina. While it’s unclear how much damage blue light can do over the long term, it’s safest to filter it away from our eyes. A smart decision for savvy parents who want to protect their kids’ eyes on and off the field.
Blue light blockers are made by injecting a filter directly into the lens at the time the eyewear is manufactured. For adults, all Stoggles eyewear comes standard with this technology to keep your eyes safe outdoors or while you’re using an electronic device.
5. Anti-Fog Protection
Nothing spells accidents like foggy lenses on a hot, steamy summer day. If your child’s protective safety glasses frequently fog, they’ll be distracted during the game, which means points for the other team and a possible injury for them.
Removing their glasses to wipe the lenses could leave their eyes vulnerable to injury. The one time your left-fielder kid removes their glasses to wipe the fog down will be the one time that a ball flies directly into their face.
When searching for sports glasses, make sure you purchase one that has anti-fog lenses. These are treated with an anti-fogging solution that changes the surface tension of water vapor on the surface of the glasses. The glasses don’t fog, and your kid gets to catch a fly ball. It’s a win/win.
6. Prescription Lenses, if Needed
Children who wear corrective lenses or contacts should have prescription safety glasses. These prevent the need to wear large, bulky goggles over the eyeglasses and make it possible for your child to enjoy crystal-clear vision while still keeping their eyes protected.
It’s also important to make sure you get a good, custom fit. Adjustable glasses may be the best option, and glasses that have a secure strap on the back make it easy to ensure the eyewear will stay in place. If your child’s glasses don’t have one, you can find a sports strap here.
7. Style They’ll Love
If you’ve learned anything about your kid, it’s probably that they won’t wear something that doesn’t make them feel confident. It’s important for kids to feel good about their protective eyewear; otherwise, they’ll be tempted to leave it in their gym bag.
Take your child with you to shop for safety sports glasses, and give them several options from which to choose. They’ll feel empowered with the decision-making process, and you’ll relieve yourself of any of the blame if they later decide they don’t like them.
Our suggestion? Keep the style simple. Tastes change from day to day, but a classic, simple design lasts a long time.
Protect Your Own Eyes, Too
Just like it’s important to put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else, protecting your own eyes is important to set an example your kids will follow.
At Stoggles, we combine form and function to deliver adult safety eyewear that protects your eyes and keeps your cool card safely in your pocket.
All Stoggles come standard with:
- ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification
- Anti-fog lenses
- UV protection
- Blue light-blocking lenses
- Shatter resistance
- Prescription capability (handled in-house)
- Unparalleled comfort and photo-worthy style
If it’s protective eyewear you need that is stylishly understated, we’re your go-to solution. This season, give the other parents at the ball field something else to talk about. Keep your eyes safe, and your style cool with Stoggles.
Pediatric eye injury-related hospitalizations in the United States|PubMed
A five-year retrospective study of the epidemiological characteristics and visual outcomes of pediatric ocular trauma | NCBI
Standard Specification for Eye Protectors for Selected Sports|ASTM.org